Twenty-one-year-old Jess used to have everything—a loyal best friend, a boyfriend she loved, and a future that was right on track. But in a single night, her whole world changed.
Now, Jess lives for the impersonal connection of drunken hook-ups and to-go coffee cups in the morning. All she needs is one night to pretend everything is fine…until she meets Adam.
Thanks to a sports injury, gorgeous, charming basketball star Adam Carson is stuck in physical therapy at the hospital where Jess interns—giving her the perfect opportunity to see his sweet, considerate nature and making her realize that maybe she does want something more.
But while Adam might be the best thing that’s happened to Jess in a long time, letting him past her carefully constructed walls means letting him know what happened…and why he’d never want her for more than one night.
One Night (Only You #1)
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Without thinking, I reach a hand behind me and brush the side of his face where Jake took his cheap shot. My fingers skim the morning stubble on his jaw. His lungs constrict under me, and I know I shouldn’t have done it. But he leans in to my touch, and I’m the one concealing a gasp.
“How does it feel?” I ask, guilt dripping off my words.
“I’m fine,” he says, his voice a throaty whisper.
I justify my hand lingering on his face with the thought that I owe him. He’s already been hurt because of me, twice in one night, and still he stayed. The longing hangs between us. If he wants what little I’m able to give, I can honor that request. But it’s the warmth of his skin on mine, the need to fill all of the empty spaces with his touch. Why shouldn’t I deserve this too? Maybe a tiny pocket of happiness is better than none at all.
My hand slides to the corner of his mouth, my fingertips resting on his lips.
His voice is a whisper now, one that makes my body scream. I will follow his lead. I will give him what he wants, what we both need. Maybe we can seal some of the cracks for each other. Maybe the next time we break, there will be fewer pieces to pick up.
It’s almost imperceptible, the brush of his lips against my fingers. We teeter on the edge, and if I ignore it, if I don’t acknowledge the kiss, I will pull us back from the brink. The boundaries will remain.
I pull my hand away and turn so I kneel beside him. His dark eyes gaze at me with more intensity than I’ve ever seen. We both want this. No, we need this.
My fingers find their way back to his mouth, skimming his bottom lip. Adam’s eyes close, and my name is a soft moan escaping with his breath.
Every part of me pulses with the nearness of him, and my lips join my fingers in quiet, longing exploration of his mouth. There is no kiss yet, only lips searching lips before we each let go of the last of our restraint.
He opens his eyes and looks at me through dark lashes. His hand reaches for mine, pulling it gently from his mouth.
“Are you sure?”
He breathes the words into my mouth, and I don’t allow myself time for rational thought.
“Yes,” I breathe back. “Yes.”
Both of his hands cradle my face, his fingers tucking strands of hair behind my ears, thumbs brushing my lashes, the whole time my lips still resting light upon his.
The only thing I hear before we cross the barrier is my own shallow inhalation, and then tentative exploration gives way to the pressure of his mouth on mine.
His kiss is halfway between tender and hungry. I straighten on my knees and run my fingers through his hair. He releases a shaky breath, and my back arches, pushing my chest against his.
My right knee slides over his outstretched leg so I’m straddling him. And this is it, the line crossed. I expect the fear and the logic that has gripped me for so long to pull me back. But instead, as my lips crush against his, everything else melts away. I am suspended in this moment for as long as time will let me.
Adam’s teeth graze my bottom lip, and I gasp with pleasure. His tongue traces the same path, and I open my mouth, inviting him in. He tastes like cinnamon, and I smile against him realizing he’s used my mouthwash.
Our tongues tangle and untangle, sweeping across teeth and lips. I’ve had first kisses before, but not like this. Even with Bryan, the boy I knew I’d fall in love with, there was never this kind of heat, this undeniable need.
Bryan. Even when I’m awake, he’s here, reminding me how stupid I am to hope, to want more than I can give. The realization is a wake-up call, and I pull away from him, panting.
I knew I wanted him. I knew we both needed this moment. But I can’t need him. Not when I know he can’t stay.
That was never an option. And my selfish longing isn’t worth what all of this will end up doing to him.
Neither of us says a word.
Adam’s smile is broad and beautiful until his eyes lock on mine. It fades as recognition blooms. He can see it on my face, the reconstruction of my walls, and I wonder if our small moment was time enough to put any of the broken pieces back together, or if all we did was make a new crack.